Archive for May, 2012

Parise, Tortorella think along same lines

- May 17th, 2012

NEWARK — Zach Parise and John Tortorella have little common ground during the Eastern Conference final.
But the New Jersey Devils captain and the New York Rangers coach agree on one thing.
Eliminating distractions, specifically those that allegedly are caused by the media, is paramount.
“We’re concerned about our locker room,” Tortorella said during a conference call with reporters on Thursday.
“We’re trying to close that down and just take care of business ourselves there. We really don’t spend too much time worrying about what you guys are speaking about, and that’s certainly not trying to be disrespectful, but we don’t.
“We have a lot of things that we have in our room that we have to fix, that we have to deal with, and really block out all the other stuff.”
Parise tunes in for the Western Conference final between the Los Angeles Kings and Phoenix Coyotes, but that’s about it.
“You just kind of shelter yourself,” Parise said. “You don’t read about it. You don’t watch it. You watch the other games and things like that, but you turn your mind off from everything else that’s happening.
“I don’t think it has been overwhelming by any means. We’ve done a good job of concentrating on what we’re doing and what we have to do, and not allowing these underlying stories to take over what we’re trying to accomplish.”

DeBoer not about to start criticizing

- May 15th, 2012

NEWARK — Peter DeBoer bit his lip on Tuesday.
The New Jersey Devils coach saw some things in Game 1, some calls that were not made, but he didn’t vent during a news conference with reporters the day after the Devils lost 3-0 against the New York Rangers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference final.
The Rangers took a lead in that game when Dan Girardi blasted a shot past Martin Brodeur early in the third period. As the puck went through the crease, so too did Rangers forward Derek Stepan. Did he make contact with Brodeur?
“It looked like a bump to me,” DeBoer said without elaborating.
And did Rangers defenceman Michael Del Zotto close his hand the puck not long before the second Rangers goal?
“It looked like a hand on the puck,” DeBoer said.
DeBoer realizes there is no point in complaining about missed calls. He doesn’t want to get fined by the NHL and nothing will be changed.

Tortorella checks insight at the door

- May 14th, 2012

NEW YORK — New York Rangers coach John Tortorella likes to be short, but not really sweet, when he has his morning-skate news conferences on game days. Here’s what Tortorella had to say on Monday morning. The official transcript from the NHL, not edited for length:

Q. I can’t remember in which series you said before, but you were asked if you looked for something in the team and you weren’t going to say what it was, but you had seen it. Is that still the case?
COACH TORTORELLA: We’re fine.

Q. And you’ve seen what you need to see?
COACH TORTORELLA: We’re fine.

Q. Is there a challenge emotionally with the quick turnaround from one series to the next?
COACH TORTORELLA: No, none.

Q. You alluded yesterday to you’re glad the team had the experience of two Game 7s. So when other people are suggesting maybe 14 games isn’t the best way to start out…
COACH TORTORELLA: It’s a bunch of crap.

Q. What does Ottawa or the Capitals or the Devils – does it really come down to what your team does? Is that what your focus and preparation
is?
COACH TORTORELLA: We don’t spend too much time on the other team. We’re worried about our team.

Q. You said home ice doesn’t matter until you get to a Game 7. Why is it different in Game 7 as opposed to any other home game?
COACH TORTORELLA: I just feel that way.

Reading up on Lundqvist hard for Devils

- May 14th, 2012

NEWARK — Zach Parise had a good line when he was asked whether “the book” on Henrik Lundqvist was to shoot high.
“Can we get a copy of that book?,” said Parise, the New Jersey Devils captain, eliciting laughter. “You know more than us, apparently.”
The Washington Capitals appeared to go high on Lundqvist, the New York Rangers’ star netminder, during the Eastern Conference semifinal, but it didn’t get them very far.
“He is nominated for the best player of the regular season, isn’t he?” Devils forward Patrik Elias said. “So I don’t know if he has a weakness, especially this year. He is so confident and rightfully so.
“There’s different ways to get to him. Traffic. Try to screen as much as possible. We have to take a little extra time, make an extra two passes.”
Through two rounds, Lundqvist, a candidate for the Hart and Vezina Trophies, has a .937 save percentage and a 1.68 goals-against average with one shutout.

Big difference comes with playing in Game 7

- May 12th, 2012

NEW YORK — Mike Rupp has provided the biggest difference for his team in the biggest game of the playoffs before, so the New York Rangers forward knows what he’s talking about when he says that every player should want to be that guy.
The Rangers and Washington Capitals meet in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinal on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden. The winner will meet the New Jersey Devils in the conference final, starting with Game 1 on Monday night. The loser will be scheduling tee times.
In 2003, Rupp scored the Cup-winning goal for the Devils in Game 7 of the final versus the Anaheim Ducks.
“It’s healthy to want to be that difference,” Rupp said on Saturday morning. “I heard one of the guys talking about it being one of those special days. It just feels different, like it is a birthday or something, just a special day on the calendar. It’s not an everyday ordinary game. You approach it in the same way, but we all know what a special night and opportunity it is for players to play in a Game 7.”
Both teams have been through the Game 7 grind once this spring, with the Rangers ousting the Ottawa Senators in the first round and the Capitals eliminating the Boston Bruins.
Caps forward Jason Chimera scored the winning goal in Game 6 against the Rangers, and agreed with Rupp’s assertion that it’s crucial to want to be the difference-maker.
“You want the puck on your stick, you want to be that guy,” Chimera said. “It’s one of those games you want to play when you are younger. Game 7s, you see the games all the time on TV, you get together with your friends to watch these games and you want to be the guy who scores the winning goal.
“But you have to relax and play the game too. You can’t run around like a crazy maniac.”
One of two big stars in the game will do something he has not done previously in the NHL. Neither Caps captain Alex Ovechkin nor Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist has played beyond the second round.
The Caps won’t have forward Jay Beagle in the lineup, who missed Game 6 with a lower-body injury. Though Washington coach Dale Hunter was being coy, saying the status of Beagle would be a game-time decision, Beagle did not take part in the morning skate.
Hunter, meanwhile, had an extra spring in his step. Hunter watched on his laptop on Friday night as the London Knights beat the Niagara IceDogs to win the Ontario Hockey League championship. Hunter, an owner of the Knights with his brother Mark, was coaching the Knights until he was hired by the Capitals in November.
Speculation persists that Hunter will return to the Knights once the Capitals are finished. The Knights will participate in the Memorial Cup in Shawinigan, May 18-27.
“It has been a great year, some of it unexpected,” Hunter said.